News / Asia

Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Class

Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Classi
X
February 20, 2013 7:54 PM
Major trade unions in India have called a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday to protest increased fuel costs, inflation and what they say are the government’s failed economic policies. VOA correspondent Aru Pande takes a closer look at how retail inflation, which hit nearly 11 percent in January, is affecting the country’s poor and middle class.
Rising Food Prices Harm India’s Poor, Middle Class
Aru Pande
Major trade unions in India have called a nationwide strike beginning Wednesday to protest increased fuel costs, inflation and what they say are the government’s failed economic policies. Retail inflation, which hit nearly 11 percent in January, is affecting the country’s poor and middle class.
 
 It’s 5 p.m. and customers are crowding this vegetable market in the northern Indian city of Lucknow.
 
Annamma Rajput listens closely to the vendors and then haggles to bring prices down. She focuses on the onion - an Indian staple used in nearly every dish - whose price has jumped dramatically in recent months.
 
“Onion was 10 rupees, 15 rupees a kg [kilogram], now it is 20, 40 something like that. It’s very expensive for the common people,” said Rajput.
 
And for the school coordinator, spending more on produce, means having less to spend on other household goods.
 
"It is so expensive. What will we do for our other things also? We have got children, we have to bring them up - vegetables are not the basic thing for the children, isn’t it?” she asked.
 
India’s consumer price inflation rose to 10.79 percent in January and government figures show the price of vegetables increased by 26 percent compared to December of last year.
 
At the Lucknow market, retired geology department director S.F. Farooqui said the government’s recent increase in fuel prices is partly to blame.
 
“As far as vegetables are concerned, it is the impact of only oil. When oil goes up, that means the transportation cost increases,” said Farooqui.
 
But economists such as D.H. Pai Panandikar say the main reasons for stubbornly high food inflation are neither the high cost of transport, nor - as in the case of the onion - last year’s drought in parts of the country. He said it's a simple issue of supply and demand.
 
“With the improvement in incomes, people are shifting their consumption patterns from food grains to fruits, vegetables, meat, milk and so on,” said Panandikar.
 
Panandikar said the government can take certain steps, though, to increase supply and ease prices.
 
“For instance, the government can give loans at cheaper rates of interest for dairies so they can develop really fast, one thing they can do. The second thing is to give vegetable growers or fruit growers better seeds with high productivity,” said Panandikar.
 
Meantime, analysts say food inflation not only is hurting people’s wallets; it has a broader effect on the economy.  
 
More money spent on food means less to spend on clothes and other goods. And low consumer demand is causing India’s industrial production to continue shrinking, contributing to a gross domestic product that is expected to drop to 5 percent for the fiscal year ending in March - the lowest GDP in a decade.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More